The polls closed on Tuesday night, but there is still a long road ahead before we know the exact outcome. Nothing is official yet: not the results of the election, the identity of the next prime minister or the exact makeup of the coalition.
Of course Netanyahu is the likely Prime Minister, and as reported on GreaterLakewood, Gantz conceded. But as the great Yogi Berra said ‘it ain’t over till it’s over’
There are, of course, reasonable predictions to be made. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have a much easier path to forming a coalition than Blue and White leader Benny Gantz does, making Netanyahu remaining in office the most likely scenario.
Netanyahu also has the threat of indictment hovering over his head and influencing his decision. While he could form a national unity government with Blue and White, some of the senior members of that bloc have entirely ruled out the option in recent weeks. And if Netanyahu is indicted, they would not remain in his coalition. The parties on the Right, however, have said that they would follow the letter of the law, which allows a prime minister to remain in office until he is convicted after appeal; in fact, Netanyahu plans to ask coalition partners to agree to do so, as a condition of being in his government.
But that is likely weeks away. Before that, all eyes will be on President Reuven Rivlin.
The “double envelope” votes of soldiers, diplomats, Jewish Agency emissaries, sailors, women in battered women’s shelters and people in prison and in hospitals will be counted by early Thursday morning, which could shift the expected makeup of the Knesset. In the last election, UTJ and the Joint List lost seats because of the double envelopes, and the Likud and Meretz each gained. In 2013, UAL-Ta’al lost a seat, which went to Bayit Yehudi. This time, the change may be more drastic, because the New Right is on the cusp of getting in, which would shuffle four whole seats.
After its membership is confirmed, the 21st Knesset is expected to be sworn in at the end of the month, with a delay due to Pesach.
We will post an update later tonight when the soldiers votes are tallied.